In 1972 the trustees for the Layton Art Collection made a major shift in emphasis from American paintings to decorative arts.
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The Richard and Erna Flagg Collection of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture comprises over 100 unique and historically significant objects drawn from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
These works—including clocks, tableware and vessels, cabinets and larger furniture pieces, and intricately tooled metalwork—are renowned for their virtuoso displays of craftsmanship and use of precious materials.
The Layton Art Gallery opened in 1888, a gift to the city from meat packer Frederick Layton.
Layton’s original donation consisted of 38 paintings that reflected the accepted academic work of his time with European paintings by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Jules Bastien-Lepage, James Tissot, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and Frederic Leighton, and American paintings by Winslow Homer, Frederic Edwin Church, and Asher Brown Durand.